Malabang town police chief safe, not beheaded

THE police chief of Malabang town, Lanao del Sur said he’s safe after President Rodrigo Duterte mentioned on Wednesday, May 24, that the chief was beheaded by terrorists.

Malabang Police Chief Romeo Enriquez said on Friday, May 26, that he is fine. He said there may have been confusion because a former Malabang police chief was killed in the fighting, but he was not beheaded.

According to Enriquez, the former chief was fatally shot in a clash with the extremists on Tuesday outside a Marawi hospital.

READ: Military official: Hapilon's group still in Marawi

On Tuesday afternoon, May 23, a firefight erupted between government forces and members of the Maute terror group in Marawi City, making thousands of civilians evacuate Marawi City and stay in temporary shelters in the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro.

About 120 hostages were rescued as the government troops continue to flush out the remaining members of the Maute group.

According to the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) Commander Carlito Galvez Jr., 78 of the 120 hostages were rescued from the government-owned Amai Pakpak Hospital, which was taken over by the terrorists.

They consist of hospital staffs, eight patients, and 49 construction workers.

Galvez said the troops have retaken the hospital around 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

The Wesmincom commander said the remaining 42 rescued hostages were teachers who were trapped inside the campus of the Dansalan College. The Maute group burned a building of the school.

READ: Troops, Maute group clash in Marawi City; 3 dead, 12 injured

The clash prompted Duterte to declare martial law and suspend writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao for a period not exceeding 60 days.

In a proclamation released on Thursday, it stated that the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus “shall likewise be suspended in the aforesaid area for the duration of the state of martial law.”

Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao led to several protests and questions from militant groups, saying it would not resolve the conflict but merely create more problems and lead to violation of people’s rights.

READ: DND issues guidelines amid martial law implementation

The House of Representatives and the Senate have agreed to conduct next week their own deliberations on Duterte's martial law proclamation covering the whole Mindanao.

In an advisory, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas revealed that his Senate counterpart Senator Vicente Sotto III agreed to have their briefing with the executive branch on Monday.

Earlier, both Fariñas and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said that there is no rush for Congress to conduct its review of the martial law.

The Constitution, according to them, provides that martial law does "not need Congress approval" if it is only for a period of not more than 60 days. (AP)

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